Daniel Tawfik

I am the founder and CEO of Vonjour. I write about life and what I’ve learned from my abundant mistakes.

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Fencing in the Mirror

Suriname is a small Caribbean nation on the Atlantic coast of South America. It has a population of a little over half a million people. If you’re like me, you had probably never heard of it. And you’ve certainly never heard of Edward Gessel.

Edward Gessel serves as the Chairmen of Suriname’s Special Olympics delegation. Suriname’s participation in the Special Olympics was nothing less than improbable. In the months leading up to the Games, Gessel had a problem. There were no funds to pay for the travel expenses for his delegation. Gessel had to stare down an ominous ledger every day, and the math was not in his favor. The $3000 plane ticket to the Games is more than the average Surinamese household income. Getting the funds to send the delegation to Los Angeles seemed impossible.

Left with no other recourse, Edward Gessel mortgaged his home. With the funds from this selfless act

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The Tunnel Vision Fallacy

This is the age of the selfie-stick. We lionize those that clamor for our attention and impulsively beat our own chests because of an unflinching belief that we are special.

One only needs a pulse to understand the importance we place on the self. These are the fruits of narcissism. It’s easy to lament its corrosive effects on our culture; it’s much harder, however, to look inward and see how we as individuals foster and let narcissism corrode our own lives.

I think about this particularly when it comes to individuals we consider “driven”.

When we send young people out to the arena we arm them with a myth. It’s the myth of tunnel vision, of singular focus: if you sacrifice and dedicate yourself completely to an end you will emerge on the other side the victor.

Pick the arena: athletics, business, politics– within each field there exists a hero that tackles an obstacle through a

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Why I created a blog about doing hard things

“No man’s good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt.” —Seneca

Some of us dream of Elyssium. We point to the moon and see it in arm’s reach. We quit our comfortable jobs to embark on a new venture, or catch a Greyhound bus to Hollywood from somewhere in the obscurity of the Midwest to pursue our dreams of appearing on the silver screen, or wake up at dawn to train to compete at the highest levels. That’s the life we choose. We visualize, have purpose and execute.

These dreamers are the modern day Don Quixotes; jumping into the arena, scoffing at conventional wisdom, and taking the proverbial road less traveled. In every industry we find them and glorify their success, often times ad nauseam, but this of course is not the purpose of the blog. This is a blog about doing hard things.

When I started my company I had the fortune of befriending my own band of Don Quixotes. We were

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